Death or Glory

He died over 150 years ago and his small headstone doesn’t look Victorian.

John’s middle name is perfect for mangling. Knowing there is a French connection in his past, I am going to settle for BOURRYEAU. It is a minority spelling in the sources but the half dozen or more variants found are unconvincing.

It is clearly a matter of pride that he was a Captain of the 17th Lancers. He must have been a boy soldier to have achieved this rank at the age of twenty-four. He was 37 and had left the army when he married. About four months after his wedding day he would have received news of the deaths of over a hundred of his former brothers-in-arms. The Russians cut the Light Brigade lancers down as they charged into the Valley of Death. Not the Scots Greys. And photographer Roger Fenton’s Death Valley is some distance from the site of the carnage.

17th Lancers, cap badge, by GMJ – http://www.paoyeomanry.co.uk, Public Domain

John was born into a wealthy family, the money coming mainly from inheritance. Made initially by African slaves in West Indies plantations and banked by Zachariah Bourryeau, huge sums were bequeathed to his son John and three daughters. There was property too and John BROADLEY, who had married Elizabeth Bourryeau, found himself in possession of Blyborough Hall in Lincolnshire. I am not sure how the Broadley family came to buy hundreds of acres of East Yorkshire, but John the Lancer received a share. Rents and his army pension were enough to fund a three-storey dwelling in Trafalgar Square, Scarborough – plenty big enough for a man, his wife and three servants. I have not found evidence of the move to Filey after 1861 and there isn’t a last address in the EYFHS St Oswald’s Burials Survey. One of the slaver’s plantations, however, was on the island of St Kitts and there is a house with this name on Filey’s Foreshore Road (aka The Beach).

Photographed today

This may be where John Bourryeau Broadley spent his final years before congestion of the brain took him. (What we might call “cerebral haemorrhage” nowadays.) His effects at probate were valued at less than £1,500 (about £130,000 today).

John’s wife was a widow for 42 years. She died in London in 1909.

More information online –

Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery

South Ella Hall, Anlaby (pdf): The Broadley Family